A section of the school that is yet to be painted
The freshly painted front of Juan de-Bolas Primary

Without collecting a cent, George Bennett responded to an appeal for volunteers and is now on a mission to repaint Juan de-Bolas Primary School in the Lluidas Vale Division, St. Catherine.

He walked several miles uphill last week Friday and Saturday to do a portion of the painting, but he ended up pausing because the paint ran out.

Bennett hopes that, with more paint being donated, the entire school should get a facelift in time for the new school term in January 2022.

The institution reopened yesterday for face-to-face classes after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A painter by profession, Bennett, who himself is facing downtime due to the pandemic, is happy to be sprucing up the school for its 32 students and four educators – including the principal.

“I feel very good in myself to know it is something good mi a duh, because the kids are the future,” he told The Beacon, adding that the rich history of Juan de-Bolas district also motivated him to make a difference there.

He recalled attending the school only for a day before being transferred.

Explaining how he ended up starting the painting project, Bennett said he recently was in a corner shop at Union district in Lluidas Vale when someone mentioned that the school is seeking paint and volunteers to help with preparation for face-to-face classes.

The principal, Mario Samms, who commenced his one-year tenure at Juan de-Bolas Primary in January, is leading the charge to give the “under-resourced” school a facelift.

He said he initially was hesitant about making a public appeal for help, but he saw the move as a means of not only giving the school a facelift, but also getting the community more involved in the institution.

“The school belongs to the community, and anything that happens to the school reflects the community,” the first-time principal opined. “As leaders, we have to have a vision. Once people see our vision and they can run with it, you will get things done in a wonderful way.”

Samms added that, despite COVID-19 affecting his tenure, he has managed to successfully lobby persons and non-governmental organizations for a brand new refrigerator, a six-burner gas stove, a photocopier, stationery, a weed whacker to cut the yard, and the paint that was used on the school last weekend. He also hopes to have the school’s bathrooms tiled.

“We are at the stage where we want to lift the school in terms of painting,” the principal said. “In order for me to get good results out of our students and teachers, our environment has to be clean and comfortable so that people can look towards coming to work and coming to school.”

In the meantime, Bennett encouraged other people to give back or volunteer. “The children are the future and more time wi can’t wait on politicians. Wi have to come together, cook some food and volunteer,” he commented.

The Beacon, whose founder is a past student of Juan de-Bolas Primary School, also intends to contribute towards the facelift of the institution. To support our impending contribution, WhatsApp or call us at 876-305-4574, or email jamaicabeacon@gmail.com. You can also donate via PayPal at jamaicabeacon@gmail.com.


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